Iran letter not an opening to solve N-crisis: Rice | india | Hindustan Times
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Iran letter not an opening to solve N-crisis: Rice

US secretary of state says Iran letter is not an opening to solve nuclear crisis.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 03:28 IST

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed a surprise letter that Iran's president sent to President George W Bush on Monday, saying it did not seriously address the standoff over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

In an interview the top US diplomat said the letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was 17 or 18 pages long and covered history, philosophy and religion. It was not a diplomatic opening, she said.

"This letter isn't it. This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort," Rice said. "It isn't addressing the issues that we're dealing with in a concrete way."

Rice's comments were the most detailed response from the United States to the letter, the first from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years. She would not discuss the contents in detail but made clear that the United States would not change its track on Iran.

"There's nothing in here that would suggest that we're on any different course than we were before we got the letter," Rice said. She spoke hours before she was to confer on Iran with other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The United States pushed for the Security Council review that is now under way, but the body is divided over how hard to press Iran and whether to impose sanctions or other punishment if Tehran will not drop sensitive nuclear activities.